1. Tricia: Kathi, your personal writing style is . . .
Kathi: My personal writing style has, to a large extent, evolved out of my love for poetry and music, as well as my drama training. Whether I’m writing fiction or nonfiction, I just have this thing about listening for the right tone and timber and cadence. There are times I simply have to add a syllable to a sentence before I can let it go. (I have just finished writing the lyrics and music for a ballad and am waiting for my CCM friend, who is much more skilled in singing and arranging than I, to get it recorded for me, so I still like to pursue that area of writing whenever I can.)
The other primary factor in my writing style is that absolutely everything I write, regardless of genre, revolves around and unfolds through people and relationships. Besides being a writer, I’ve served as a pastor and a biblical counselor, so I suppose I am very people-oriented in my everyday outlook on life, and that’s bound to carry over into my writing style.
2. Tricia: If you weren’t in publishing, you’d be . . .
Kathi: If I weren’t completely immersed in the publishing world, I would still be working as a pastor/counselor. I continue to speak/minister at churches and church-related events whenever I can, as I really enjoy that, but right now my focus is on my writing.
3. Tricia: What do you think is the biggest misconception about the writing world?
Kathi: The biggest misconception about the writing world/life is that “anybody can do it,” and not only that, they can get rich doing it! HA! I love what I do, but I’ve been at it for years-decades, in fact-and I have yet to experience an IRS audit due to my sudden jump in tax brackets. But I thank God every day that I actually make a living doing what I love to do so much that I’d do it for free. (But since I like to eat and pay bills, we won’t go there..)
4. Tricia: You have a fantastic resource for writers, can you tell me a little about it?
Kathi: Though there are a gazillion great resource books for writers, my best resource is networking with all the other writers and editors I’ve met during my twenty-five-plus years in the business. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was, “If you want to be good at something, find someone who does it better than you and hang around ’em.” Though I often mentor new writers, I still look for those who write and edit better than I (and believe me, I don’t have to look far!), and then I hang around ’em. That’s why writers’ groups are so important. Every writer-from wannabes to pros-should be involved in at least one.
5. Tricia: When was the last time you “took a day off” from writing? What did you do?
Kathi: Hmm. The last time I took a day off from writing was in 1970-something.. Just kidding! Because I write and edit fulltime-at least forty hours a week, sometimes more-I need at least one day off every week. God knew what He was doing when He established the Sabbath and told us to honor it. I spend my Sabbath with my husband-going to church, going out to eat, visiting friends and other family members, and occasionally just hopping on our Harley and heading off for parts unknown. (They don’t call me “Easy Writer” for nothing!)
6. Tricia: You are a very busy writer. Looking back, what do you think was key in you moving from “wanna-be-author” to “published.”
Kathi: More than once I’ve been told that I come from a long line of folks who give an entirely new meaning to the word “stubborn.” That may or may not be true, but I imagine it does have something to do with my having progressed from wannabe writer to published. A big dose of optimism has helped a lot too. I am probably one of the most optimistic people on the face of the earth, so though I get discouraged like anyone else when I get yet another rejection to add to my already enormous pile, it doesn’t take long before I’m looking for a new angle, a new idea, or a new avenue to pursue for the next submission. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know how anyone can survive in the publishing world without that sort of attitude!
7. Tricia: Hot summer days or crisp fall air?
Kathi: Definitely crisp fall air! I hate being hot-though I can handle it if my husband and I are on a secluded beach somewhere in Hawaii-but crisp fall air is much more conducive to creativity and productivity, and I thrive on both!
8. Tricia: What are three things closest to your computer when you write?
Kathi: The three things closest to my computer when I write have to be cold Diet Pepsi, my calendar/planner, and my cell phone.
9. Tricia: If you had the choice of working on an autobiography with any living person today, who would you choose? Why?
Kathi: I think the autobiographies I would most like to do would be of some of the persecuted members of the underground Church. I am a strong supporter of Voice of the Martyrs and other similar groups, and I read something from their publications every day, right after reading my Bible. I have pictures of many of these people that I’ve printed from VOM emails stuck in my Bible so I can pray for them daily. Li Ying is one of them, a Chinese believer who is serving a 15-year sentence because of her testimony. Ranjah Masih is another one, an Afghan Christian who is also imprisoned for his faith. And then there is a young African Christian boy named Damar Garang, who was “crucified” and left to die by a Muslim who believed Damar had betrayed Islam and become an infidel. Damar was rescued and now lives with a Christian family, but he still bears the scars of his crucifixion and has a very difficult time walking. But he continues to boldly proclaim his faith and love for Jesus. Finally, there is Pastor Thank-God Obi and his wife, Glory, who live and minister in one of the most dangerous parts of Nigeria. They struggle just to survive, and have lost one child to starvation. But they call their congregation the “Jesus Victorious Church,” and I have been honored to know and support this precious family/congregation for more than twenty years now. All these people are my heroes, and I would be honored to write their stories one day.
10. Tricia: Personally, what do you think of this new blogging craze?
Kathi: I think blogging is more than a craze-I think it’s here to stay, and I think its influence will continue to grow. People seldom read newspapers anymore, and the so-called mainstream media is fast losing its following. That may not be an entirely good thing, but more and more people are reading and being influenced by bloggers-good, bad, or otherwise. So we may as well accept it and jump on the bandwagon-and maybe help it stay on course just a bit.